Saudi Arabia urges OPEC to cut oil output to low end of target

Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih.
Updated 18 November 2016

Saudi Arabia urges OPEC to cut oil output to low end of target

RIYADH/DOHA: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday he was optimistic about OPEC’s deal to limit oil output and mentioned the lower end of a previously agreed production target, helping spur a rally in the price of crude.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, at a meeting in Algeria in September, made a preliminary deal to limit oil output. The details are meant to be finalized when OPEC ministers gather in Vienna on Nov. 30.
Al-Falih told Al-Arabiya TV that the oil market was on a path toward becoming balanced and that “reaching (a decision) to activate that ceiling of 32.5 million barrels per day (bpd) will speed up the (market) recovery and will benefit producers and consumers.”
OPEC agreed on Sept. 28 to limit supply to between 32.5 million and 33 million bpd, with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars or sanctions.
Al-Falih and other ministers have said previously that OPEC would reduce output to that range, without specifying the higher or lower end.
Oil prices climbed above $47 a barrel on Thursday as comments from Al-Falih and other ministers boosted expectations that OPEC would complete the deal.
“I’m still optimistic that the consensus reached in Algeria for capping production will translate, God willing, into caps on states’ levels and fair and balanced cuts among countries,” he said.
A number of OPEC energy ministers, including Al-Falih, are expected to meet informally in Doha on the sidelines of a gas exporters’ conference to try to build consensus.
Algeria’s Energy Minister Nouredine Bouterfa said the issue of Iran’s production would not undermine a deal.
“There is strong consensus among OPEC producers for a freeze,” he told Reuters.
“Iran is not a problem. Iran is a particular situation and needs particular treatment. They will not have the same rule for the reduction. We will study what the best solution is for Iran.”
Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Al-Sada said Iran and Iraq — which has also sought special treatment in any supply cut — were being asked to freeze output at current levels.
“We are discussing with both countries on that and we are looking at various ways and means of coming to a mutual understanding,” Sada told reporters.
Non-OPEC exporter Russia is ready to support OPEC’s decision on an output freeze and sees a good chance that it can agree terms by Nov. 30, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.
Al-Falih told Al-Arabiya that he hoped an agreement with Russia to cooperate on market stability would correspond with OPEC’s meeting on Nov. 30.


Greek town bets on slow tourism to overcome virus

Updated 12 August 2020

Greek town bets on slow tourism to overcome virus

  • The pandemic is an opportunity to promote alternative tourism, fishing tourism

PREVEZA, Greece: Yannis Yovanos scans the waters of the Ambracian Gulf with his binoculars for dolphins shooting into the air before curving back down into the sea.

His early warnings prompt just a dozen tourists on the deck of Yovanos’ small boat to scramble for their smartphones, hoping to secure a snap of the aquatic mammals’ aerial acrobatics.

Officials in his home town of Preveza hope that it’s just this kind of small, family-run business that will help them overcome the coronavirus’ impact on travel — while sparing the region the environmental impact and economic distortions of the mass tourism more common on Crete or the Ionian islands.

“We don’t want to stay all day on a beach, we’re looking for a different experience,” said Dutch tourist Frederika Janssen.

“The pandemic is an opportunity to promote alternative tourism, fishing tourism,” as well as local life and culture “directly related to the natural resources that date from Antiquity,” said Constantin Koutsikopoulos, who heads the agency charged with managing the Ambracian Gulf.

Inside the gulf is a protected wetlands park, some 400 sq. km that is one of Europe’s Natura 2000 wildlife diversity regions.

One hundred and fifty dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles and 300 species of aquatic birds including the rare Dalmatian pelican live in the lagoons and reed beds of the gulf.

Nestled between green hills, the Ambracian Gulf is fed by rivers descending from the mountains of the Epirus region of northwestern Greece.

Yovanos’ hometown guards the little strait that connects the gulf with the Ionian Sea.

Dolphin watching trips like these mean “I am realizing my dream of living the life of a fisherman among our natural riches,” said the 49-year-old from behind a greying beard.

For Greece as a whole, a gamble on reopening its borders to tourists as early as June appears to have paid off for now.

New coronavirus cases have appeared only slowly since then, with fewer than 6,000 cases and just over 200 deaths nationwide from the pandemic.

Although Preveza has opted for a slower, more family-oriented approach to travel compared to better-known Greek destinations, it hasn’t renounced Mediterranean holiday clichés altogether.

With the sector suffering a big hit from the coronavirus epidemic, Preveza city officials launched a promotional campaign, securing the title of safest place for a European beach holiday from website European Best Destinations.

“Monolithi beach, the main beach of Preveza, is ... the longest one in Europe... you won’t have to struggle to get a nice spot, fix your beach umbrella and spend relaxing days in the sun,” it wrote.

And new infrastructure in the shape of a marina has helped draw sailors away from packed ports on the islands.

“Preveza is the right place compared to Corfu which is a very nice island but very crowded,” said Nick Ray, a British businessman, from the deck of his yacht that had put into the town’s port.

With its fishing and fish farming, the Ambracian Gulf is already the region’s economic motor.

Sustainable, environment-focused tourism should give the authorities even more reason to deal with the threats to the gulf such as pollution, poaching and illegal fishing.

There’s even something for ancient history buffs in the ruins of Nicopolis, founded by Caesar Augustus in honor of his naval victory nearby in 31 BC, where some Roman mosaics are still preserved.